Monkey Themed First Birthday!

When my friend Kristin asked me to make cupcakes for her son Micah’s first birthday of course I was super excited about it!  My cupcakes were going to be the first sugar baby Micah would get to eat!  Then, when she decided on a jungle theme for the party and asked if I could make monkey cupcakes, I was even more excited.  I had the perfect cupcakes that I had pinned oh so long ago and I knew they’d be great for this occasion.

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Kristin and I decided on half chocolate cupcakes and half banana chocolate chip cupcakes because, well, how cute is it to have banana flavored cupcakes that look like monkeys??  I went with one bowl chocolate cupcakes since they are my ultimate favorite chocolate cupcake recipe.  They always come out perfectly, it’s a no fail recipe if you’re looking for a good chocolate cupcake.  And for an extra bonus, you only have to use one bowl so less to clean!

monkey

For the banana chocolate chip cupcakes I went with a recipe I had made very early on in starting my blog.  But instead of the butter, I used canola oil since I think it makes for a moister cupcake.  I also used about half the amount of chocolate chips because I didn’t want them to be too chocolatey.  Blasphemy, I know.  But I figured since I was making chocolate cupcakes already and both kinds were going to have chocolate frosting, I didn’t want to go too crazy.

monkey 2

monkey3

Decorating the cupcakes were super easy.  I just used large and mini Nilla Wafers for the face and ears.  It did become a little ridiculous when I decided to pipe little white chocolate rounds for the eyes.  After I had piped about a hundred of them I realized that I had basically made white chocolate chips.  It would have been a lot easier had I made them but what can you do.  The last step is to use black gel frosting to pipe on the eyes, nose, and mouth.  I liked positioning the eyes differently so that the monkeys look like they have different expressions.  Some silly and some serious.  I’m not going to lie, I like my cupcakes better than the original ones I pinned!

The monkeys definitely fit in with the jungle theme of Micah’s birthday and he had a huge monkey balloon tied to his highchair so it was perfect!  Can I tell you how chillaxed little Micah is?  I mean that boy almost never stops smiling.  And it’s so adorable how he loves driving his little car around with his arm hanging out the window.  Parents hide your daughters!

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IMG_2410 I’m pretty sure he enjoyed the cupcakes as you can see from the picture.  He seemed a little reluctant at first and unsure but once he got a taste, he really dug right in.  I was so happy to see that mess all over him but I don’t think it was as exciting for mom and dad to clean up!  Micah definitely had a good birthday and we loved celebrating with  him!

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Cranberry Orange Cupcakes

Thanksgiving is rapidly approaching…seriously, where did November go?  I wasn’t planning on necessarily making any Thanksgiving cupcakes but we were having a potluck at work so of course I was going to bring cupcakes.  Knowing that someone was already bringing a pumpkin dessert…pumpkin cheesecake which was amazing!…I started racking my brain for something that would be Thanksgivingish.  Cranberries!  And orange with cranberry is a match mead in heaven!

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For Cupcakes

Makes 24

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 Tsp. salt
  • 1 Tsp. baking powder
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • zest and juice of one orange
  • 2 cups fresh cranberries tossed with 1 Tbsp. flour
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line two cupcake tins with 24 liners.
  2. Beat eggs in the bowl of a stand mixer.  Add in sugar and mix until well incorporated and light yellow in color.
  3. Add in oil and make sure to mix until well incorporated.
  4. In a separate bowl whisk together flour, salt, and baking soda.  Slowly add into the egg, sugar, and oil mixture and alternate with the milk until well combined.  Then add in orange juice and zest and mix well.
  5. Gently fold in fresh cranberries.
  6. Divide batter among the cupcake liners and bake for 23-25 minutes or until golden brown and the tops are springy to the touch.

Cranberry orange

For Frosting

  • 1 stick of butter at room temperature
  • 8 oz. of 1/3 less fat cream cheese, softened
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  1. Mix together butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer
  2. Add in powdered sugar 1 cup at a time, scraping down the bowl as needed
  3. Mix in vanilla extract until smooth

Cranberry orange

The bitterness of the cranberries mostly cooks out but gives it enough flavor to pair nicely with the sweetness of the batter and the orange.  This cupcake pairs very nicely with the  mostly neutral flavor of the cream cheese frosting.  But I did consider making a spiced version of the frosting with cinnamon and a bit of ginger which would probably go well.  Whatever you choose for the frosting, these will make a great end to a Thanksgiving or holiday meal.

Happy Halloween!

 CupcakeHappy Halloween to all!  I didn’t get a chance to carve pumpkins this year but the picture above is from a friend’s pumpkin carving contest last year.  Can you guess which one is mine??  I’m sure it’s pretty obvious.  And I won the contest!

I’m not making any cupcakes this year for Halloween but came across these cute ones from Bakerella:

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Maybe next year I’ll have to try out some of these decorations.  The pumpkins and spider webs are particularly cute!

I hope you all have a happy and safe Halloween!

Key Lime Pie Cupcakes

My mom is a big fan of key lime pie.  And I don’t blame her, a buttery graham cracker crust with a tart lime Key Limefilling, and soft whipped cream on top.  There’s a lot to like there if you make it right.  This year I wasn’t going to be able to spend Mother’s Day with my mom so I decided to drive down to Connecticut the weekend before for a surprise Mother’s Day celebration.  On a side note, you can see how overdue this post is since I’m talking about something that happened in May.  Since we weren’t going to be spending actual Mother’s Day together I wanted to make her some special key lime cupcakes based on one of her favorite desserts.

For Cupcakes

[Inspired by Annie Eats]

Makes about 18 cupcakes

  • 1½ cups graham cracker crumbs
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 5  Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 1 tbsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 16 tbsp. (1 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • Zest and juice of 4 key limes
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1¾ cups milk
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract

Key Lime

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line cupcake tins with 18 liners.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter; mix well with a fork.
  3. Drop about 1 tablespoon of the graham cracker mixture in the bottom of each cupcake liner and press down to line the bottom..
  4. Bake for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven, and maintain the oven temperature.
  5. For the cupcake batter , combine the cake flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.
  6. Add the butter to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Beat on medium-high speed for 3 minutes, until light and creamy in color.
  7. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat for one more minute.  Add in the lime zest.
  8. Add the sugar to the butter mixture, ¼ cup at a time, beating 1 minute after each addition.  Mix in the eggs one at a time until incorporated.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl after each addition.
  9. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients alternately with the wet ingredients, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients and mixing just until incorporated.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix for 15 seconds longer.
  10. Divide the batter between the prepared paper liners, filling each about 2/3 of the way full.  Bake 18-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

For Filling

  • 3 large eggs
  • ¾ cups sugar
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed key lime juice
  • Zest of 6-8 key limes
  • 4 tbsp.  unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into pieces
  1. In a saucepan, combine the eggs and sugar.  Whisk together until well blended.
  2. Whisk in the key lime juice.
  3. Place the pan over medium-low heat.  Cook, stirring or whisking constantly, until the mixture is warmed through.  Be careful not to heat the mixture too quickly to avoid curdling the eggs.
  4. Whisk in the butter a little bit at a time, stirring in each addition until completely incorporated before adding more.  Continue to cook, scraping the bottom of the pan, until the mixture thickens and a spoon or spatula leaves a path when drawn through it.
  5. Immediately remove the pan from the heat and pass the mixture through a fine mesh strainer.
  6. Cut holes in the center of your cupcakes and spoon or pipe in filling until it reaches the top of the cupcake.

For FrostingKey Lime

  • 1 Tsp. unflavored gelatin
  • 1 Tbsp.cold water
  • 1 cup cold heavy or whipping cream
  • 3 Tbsp. powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  1. Sprinkle gelatin over water in a small dish and let sit for a few minutes until the gelatin absorbs the water.
  2. Microwave the gelatin for about 30 seconds at high heat.  The gelatin will be clear and melted.
  3. In the bowl of a mixer, beat the cream until it gets thick and starts to form peaks.
  4. Gradually add in your sugar.
  5. Mix in the melted gelatin and water mixture into the whipped cream.
  6. Add in vanilla and mix well.
  7. Pipe a ring of whipped cream frosting around the outer edge of the key lime cupcake so that you can see the lime filling in the center of the cupcake.

Key LimeThese cupcakes taste almost exactly like a slice of key lime pie!  I had seen other recipes that were just key lime flavored but I think the graham cracker crust on the bottom of these really gives them the essence of the pie.  They are tart and sweet with a little bit of crunch from the crust on the bottom.  I think my mom was very happy with her special Mother’s Day cupcakes.

Biggest Baking Adventure Yet

Back at it after some WordPress problems that have kept me quite delayed.  And first up now that I’m back up online is the long over due post of my biggest baking adventure to date.  IMG_1396

When I was asked to make birthday cupcakes for a 40th birthday celebration, I’m not sure I realized what an adventure it would be.  I was thinking maybe two dozen each of two different flavors like chocolate and vanilla.  When I got to talking to the hostess she said there would be about 75 people at the party…wow, I knew this would be the biggest haul of cupcakes yet.  And then once we ironed down flavors, I realized that it was going to be a little more complicated than I thought.

The hostess decided on a few flavors, some of which I had made before and some of which I hadn’t.  Cookie dough, Hostess, and red velvet I had made before and peanut butter and white chocolate were completely new for me.  And even thought these weren’t particularly tough recipes, I didn’t realize what making nine…that’s right nine dozen cupcakes was going to entail.

Cupcakes 4It look three days and possibly some tears and meltdowns.  Because I’m never overly dramatic or anything (sense my completely sarcastic tone), I definitely didn’t flop down in my bed and cry to Boy Cupcake that I wasn’t going to finish them.  Our conversation may have looked something like this:

Me: “I can’t do it.  Whaaaaa”

Boy Cupcake: “What are you going to do, give them a hundred unfrosted cupcakes?”

Me: “Yes.  Whaaaaa”

Boy Cupcake: “You have to finish them so get up and I’ll get you more ingredients for the frosting you messed up.”

Me: “Fine.  Humph.”

See?  Not overly dramatic at all.  But in the end it was totally worth it all and our hostess was so extremely grateful and I was happy to make her happy.  Besides, then I got to listen to her praise my cupcakes to other people at the party which I definitely don’t hate.

 

Boston Cream Cupcakes

It’s pretty much known that Boston cream anything is going to be amazing.  I mean even Boston cream donuts from Dunkin Donuts are pretty awesome and their donuts completely…well…suck for lack of a better word.  So when I offered to make cupcakes for a going away and was told my cupcakes were legendary, I knew that I had to pick a pretty great flavor that people would go crazy over.  Of course I turned to my trustee source for all cupcake ideas, Pinterest.  But this time Pinterest let me down.  I just couldn’t seem to find anything that I thought would be perfect.  Randomly Boston cream pie was in my head so I just went for it since it’s usually a crowd pleaser!

[Inspired by Martha Stewart]

Makes 18 Cupcakes

For Cupcakes

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 Tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 Tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 6 Tbsp. butter at room temperature
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 Tsp. vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour cupcake tins.
  2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl.
  3. Warm milk and butter in a saucepan over low heat.
  4. Beat eggs and sugar with a mixer on high speed until thick and pale, about 5 minutes. Beat in dry ingredients.
  5. Bring milk and butter to a boil. With mixer on low speed, add milk mixture to batter, and beat until smooth. Add vanilla.
  6. Divide batter among muffin cups, filling each halfway. Bake cupcakes for 15-18 minutes or until light gold.

For Vanilla Cream Filling

*Note…This recipe didn’t quite fill the 18 cupcakes.  I suggest doubling the filling recipe so that each cupcake has a little extra filling.*

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbsp plus 1/2 tsp. cornstarch
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 Tsp. vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
  1. Whisk yolks until smooth. Mix sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add milk in a slow, steady stream. Cook, stirring, until mixture begins to bubble and thicken, about 5 minutes.
  2. Pour 1/3 of milk mixture into yolks, whisking constantly. Return mixture to saucepan, and cook over medium heat, stirring often, until thick, 2 to 4 minutes. Stir in vanilla.
  3. Pass vanilla cream through a fine sieve into a bowl. Press plastic wrap directly on surface. Refrigerate until cold, at least 1 hour.
  4. Core cupcakes and fill with pastry cream and replace with top of the cut out core.

For Chocolate Ganache

  • 1 stick of butter
  • 7 oz. bittersweet chocolate chips
  1. Place butter and chocolate in a microwavable bowl and microwave on 30 second intervals until melted, stirring between each interval
  2. Cool for at least 30 minutes before topping cupcakes

Yum, these were tasty little guys!  The only thing I’d do differently is double the filling recipe because I didn’t have enough to fill 18 cupcakes…mine only filled 16.  If I had a double batch, then each cupcake would have more of the delicious filling.  I actually had a nightmare before I brought them into work that people bit into them and there was just a hole in the middle with no filling.  Thank goodness they had filling in them!  I think these are a make again recipe!

Xoxo,

~CurlyCupcake

Intense Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes

I’ve officially become the crazy office baking lady.  At the last birthday cupcake celebration, I got word that another birthday was coming up and that chocolate was key for it.  Why are there so many fall birthdays?  It must have been a long and snowy winter for these people’s parents.  Okay, never mind.

So I knew I had to find a super chocolatey cupcake to make.  It had to be something intense.  After much searching on Pinterest…yes, I’m clearly obsessed…I saw a chocolate and raspberry combination that I thought might fit the bill.

[Inspired by The Curvy Carrot]

For Cupcakes

Makes 24 cupcakes (it probably could have made about 30 but I filled them up a lot)

  • 3 oz. semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 and 1/2 cups hot water
  • 1 and 1/2 cups milk
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 and 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 Tsp. baking soda
  • 3/4 Tsp. baking powered
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 Tsp. vanilla
  1. Preheat oven to 350 and line 2 cupcake tins with 24 liners
  2. Place chocolate chips in a heat proof bowl and pour hot water over them.  Let sit for a minute and whisk until smooth
  3. In a large bowl whisk together sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt
  4. In the stand mixer bowl beat eggs for about a minute then slowly add in milk, oil, and vanilla
  5. Add in dry ingredients, stopping to scrape the bowl as necessary
  6. Mix in chocolate and water mixture until smooth (the batter will be very liquidity)
  7. Divide batter among liners and cook 20-22 minutes

For Raspberry Ganache

  • 18 oz. semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2 and 1/4 cup whipping cream
  • 3 Tbsp. seedless raspberry jam
  1. Place chocolate in a medium bowl
  2. In a small pot gently bring the cream to a slight boil over medium heat
  3. Remove cream from heat and pour over the chocolate, let sit for about one minute and whisk until smooth
  4. Whisk in raspberry jam until smooth
  5. Refrigerate until ready to use

For Frosting

  • 16 oz. semisweet chocolate chips
  • 4-5 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 stick unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 3 Tbsp. seedless raspberry jam
  1. In a heatproof bowl, melt chocolate chips in the microwave at 30 second intervals, mixing in between each turn, let cool to room temperature
  2. Beat butter until smooth and add in powdered sugar until combined
  3. Mix in raspberry jam and add in chocolate until the frosting is smooth and creamy

I once again got to use my handy dandy cupcake plunger for these.  Man is is so much easier than cutting out each cupcake center with a knife.  All I had to do was core, fill with the ganache, and frost.  Cuts down a lot of time.   I even managed to get a (not so good) picture of the delicious ganache in the middle of the cupcake.

Since the recipe made more cupcakes than I can carry on the bus to work, they did double duty for the first day of Sunday football.  I just happened to have these cute football decorations in my baking cabinet so I figured I could get some use out of them!

Now when I say these are intense chocolate cupcakes, I’m not kidding.  These aren’t for the faint of heart, I mean it’s chocolate, on top of chocolate, with chocolate in the middle.  Oh, and a nice hint of raspberry flavor.  I’m going to go out on a limb and say that these might be a chocoholic’s dream.

xoxo,

~CurlyCupcake